The Best Wines For Holiday Gifts, Parties

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - December 08, 2010
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Bright-flavor Chardonnay

It’s finally December, which means it is celebration time! Christmas and the new year will be here in the blink of an eye.

Have you got your wine lined up already? Have you chosen that gift for your favorite wine lover?

Here is a quick blast of some recommendations in different categories that I have personally vetted.

* Best sparkler under $20: NV Roederer Estate Brut. This outclasses almost anything in its price range. Made by the same Champagne team at Roederer, this has never been better. Great fruit and complexity with tons of flavor and elegance.

Best Grower Champagne for the money: NV Pierre Peters Cuvee Reserve ($39). This 100 percent Grand Cru Chardonnay Champagne never fails to impress me with its beautiful aroma of minerals, sweet apple and baked bread. It is wonderfully soft on the palate and utterly delicious.

* Best young Champagne to impress anyone (including your wine snob boss): 20022 Louis Roederer “Cristal” ($200). I know it sounds fishy having two Roederer wines in the same article, but I am serious when I say this is an awesome vintage for Cristal. It has everything you could possibly want in a Champagne. It oozes flavor and lingers on your palate. And it will age superbly.

Oh so smooth Cabernet

Best Cabernet Sauvignon for around $15: This is a crowded category, so I had to pick several. The 2008 Forefront, which is made by Pine Ridge, is hedonistic but smooth in texture; 20088 Educated Guess, also from Napa Valley, is even sweeter in fruit with thicker structure and density; 20088 CCfrom Napa Valley is a newcomer to Hawaii, but you will want to welcome it with open palates. It is oh so smooth with sweet black fruit and a vanilla finish. Last but not least (I told you it was crowded), 20088 Mobius from Alexander Valley. This has a blueberry tinge to it along with a sweet spiciness and terrific length.

* Biggest wine for the money: This is the category for those who prefer brawn and richness over everything else in their wines. This award goes to the 20099 Mollydooker Boxer Shiraz ($22). With over-the-top sweet-smelling fruit and a texture that reminds me of motor oil, this will definitely hit your palate with a big BANG!

* Best Cabernet around $100: This goes to the 2007 Dominus. It is made by the Mouiex family (Petrus owners), and the 2007 may be the best they have ever made. This is for the collector, big Cab drinker or just anyone who appreciates great taste and is deserving of it.

* Best Chardonnay under $20: 20099 Point Conception “Caponera” Santa Barbara ($19). Forget the big names; this is a small producer that just makes some really delicious wines. This has super bright and tropical fruit flavors laced with just enough vanilla and butterscotch to keep your palate happy until the next sip.


Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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90+ point rated wines under $20



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